Coping with Psychotic Symptoms: Hallucinations
Coping with psychotic symptoms is very difficult. It can be terrifying and hard to cope when you lose touch with reality. My auditory and visual hallucinations have been the scariest part of my struggle with schizoaffective disorder. My hallucinations come in the form of ghosts and spirits and have caused me a great deal of anxiety over the years. Here's how I've learned to cope with psychotic symptoms.
My diagnosis came as a relief as I realized the ghosts were really hallucinations. They weren't real and they couldn't hurt me. They were just a part of my illness. I have been taking antipsychotic medication for over a decade now, and the results have been astounding. I went from hallucinating every day to only occasionally hallucinating when I feel stressed out. I can now function in the real world.
Tips for Coping with Psychotic Symptoms
Over the years I have learned a lot about coping with psychotic symptoms. Here are some ways I do it.
Coping with psychotic symptoms starts with prevention.
Take your medication as directed without fail. You can write down reminders or set an alarm on your phone, but it is crucial to take your medication (How to Stay on Psych Medications). Also, avoid stress, drugs, and alcohol. These are factors that can make your medication ineffective.
During symptoms, find things that are calming, comforting, or distracting.
I often turn on the lights when I’m experiencing hallucinations. I also like the TV on for background noise. I prefer to be in the company of family if possible.
Have your loved ones keep you engaged. You can ask a close friend or relative for a “reality check”. Ask if they heard or saw the same thing you experienced. If in doubt, this could solidify that you are, in fact, experiencing psychotic symptoms and it can make you more aware of your surroundings and environment.
If you are symptomatic, take a break.
Psychotic symptoms can cause a lack of concentration, so you might want to take a little time off of work or school. Since I have visual hallucinations, I take time off to avoid driving.
After experiencing psychotic symptoms, you may want to talk to your doctor.
If your psychotic symptoms have worsened or impaired your functioning, you might want to see your doctor. A medication adjustment may be needed to improve your symptoms and get you back on track.
Find a way to express yourself and process your psychotic symptoms to cope.
Seeing a therapist can help you when coping with psychotic symptoms as well as help you adapt to issues in everyday life. This can help reduce stress, which can in turn help reduce your psychotic symptoms.
I have also found art to be extremely helpful. I used to draw my hallucinations all the time. If I can make everyone see what I see, the hallucinations lose their power over me. Music and writing have also been calming.
It's Hard to Cope with Psychotic Symptoms
Psychotic symptoms have been some of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced. However, it is possible to survive and move on after experiencing them.
What are some of the ways you cope with psychotic symptoms? I would love to read about it in the comments below.
Rahm, M. (2018, February 21). Coping with Psychotic Symptoms: Hallucinations, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2018/02/psychotic-symptoms-how-i-cope-with-hallucinations
Author: Megan Rahm
I think it is really awesome that you reached out for help. That takes a lot of strength and courage, and you should be very proud of yourself for taking that first step. I have to share with you a quote I saw on my coworker's desk the other day: "Don't look back. You're not going that way." Keep pushing ahead. I wish you the very best in your recovery.